AMEA began the International Standard process in 2017 with NEN and ISO, resulting in the publication of the IWA 29 (Global Guidelines on Professional Farmer Organizations) in 2019.


In 2022, the ISO Working Group under Technical Committee 34 (Food Products) started the process to convert the IWA 29 into a full International Standard (18176).


The process is expected to be concluded by October 2024. AMEA will facilitate a launch event in Delft, the Netherlands, in October 2024, followed by smaller local network events.


In 2024, our work will focus on completing the International Standard process, supporting national adoption, and promoting active use of the Standard.

towards an international standard

When AMEA started the International Standard process, AMEA had a vision. In a world where many stakeholders work in silos and collaboration could be further promoted, it can be critical for collaboration to have a common understanding for the organization and management of professional farmer organizations.

The ISO International Standard represents this initiative, poised to bring stakeholders in the sector of Business Development Services (BDS) provision to farmer organizations and their agri-SMEs closer by creating a common language among stakeholders and strengthening accreditation systems.

Also the accreditation systems that AMEA local networks are working towards, with the BDS Roadmaps, will be stronger if there is commitment to use standardized data to measure the effectiveness of BDS, and stimulate the improvement of these services. The International Standard does that by providing guidance on where stakeholders should be looking at to improve the professionalism of the farmer organizations they work with.

In essence, the ISO International Standard for professional farmer organizations can come to represent a powerful tool for promoting a common language, strengthening accreditation systems, and stimulating the improvement of Business Development Services through standardized data. It can provide a comprehensive framework for global and local collaboration, quality assurance, and agri-SMEs’ capacity strengthening. Together, these elements can pave the way for a more resilient, efficient, and empowered agricultural sector.

We encourage members and partners to consider how they can use the Standard to measure the effectiveness of the BDS they provide or commission.


Download our IWA 29 mapping tool

Align your own tools and approaches to the IWA 29 with our freely available mapping tool. This is a great first step for those looking to have their materials considered for inclusion in the AMEA Toolbox. It may also be useful as a mechanism to integrate the IWA 29 into your monitoring and evaluation systems.

For more information about the IWA 29, read our FAQ or contact us at